We are in This Together!
I was with a younger man in my back yard and we were talking about our hearts. This friend was in the middle of a season of chaos and he felt like he was failing. I listened to his story of perceived wrong decisions and knew he looked to me for any thread of hope. I knew exactly how he felt because I have been in many seasons of chaos. These seasons often feel like relief will never come. As I drew from my experiences and asked him deep questions, I saw hope begin to be rise in his heart. A sense of strength and a desire to engage the chaos emerged. He began to feel more like a life preserver in an angry sea had been offered.
Because of my pursuit of the Father and because I wrestled and still wrestle through my own chaotic events, I was able to ask questions that drew out what God may be doing to develop this young man. It is vital for men to make the effort to practice the discipline of drawing close to the Father so they are able to become spiritual fathers. The investment of seeking God on our own and through relationships with mentors is necessary in order to accumulate a deep pool of wisdom and spiritual resources that we can give away through mentoring other men who are a few steps behind us!
The Apostle John has much to say to fathers in a few verses found in 1 John 2:12-14.
12 I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name's sake. 13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father. 14 I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. 1 John 2:12-14 (ESV) (Emphasis is mine)
“Fathers” of the faith will be tested, scorched and proven in their pursuit of Jesus. This proving comes through struggling and engaging the chaos of life, knowing without doubt that God the Father will walk with us through the fray. Fathers “…know him who is from the beginning.” This phrase is an amazingly strong statement that speaks of a deep and deepening relationship that develops over years of faithful dependence on the One who knows us perfectly.
The context of this passage indicates the need for “fathers” in our lives to encourage “children” in the faith to understand that their sins are forgiven (1 John 2:12) - that is that their souls are secure with God upon giving their life up for His life to flow through them. Fathers are also necessary to encourage young men to keep fighting and to remind them that God’s word lives in them accompanying them through the struggles and chaos of life. Young men need to be reminded that in the midst of their struggles and chaos, that because of Christ, they have overcome the evil one (1 John 2:13). The message to keep embracing the chaos, with Christ as their example, is paramount for their victory.
The need of ‘fathers’ for both younger men and children in the faith is crucial. It is the task of fathers in the faith to continually develop relational clout with the younger so they too will develop into fathers to encourage the next generation.
In the book of Titus, Paul instructs his younger disciple, Titus, to instruct older men to have six vital qualities in their life. In my next post, I’ll explore these six qualities that older men should be striving to attain so they can help others move towards maturity.